Polluted air caused nearly 500,000 babies to die prematurely last year–mostly in low- and middle-income countries, The Guardian reports, citing the new State of Global Air report.
Nearly two-thirds of the deaths were associated with indoor air pollution—especially from the burning of fuels like charcoal, wood, and animal dung for cooking.
The report also captured how little progress has been made on multiple fronts—estimating that air pollution contributed to 6.67 million deaths overall in 2019.
- Air pollution was the 4th leading risk factor for early death globally last year, surpassed only by high blood pressure, tobacco use, and poor diet.
- Air pollution contributes to ~20% of the ischemic heart disease burden globally—ranging from 5% in higher-income regions to over 30% in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
- India recorded the highest annual average PM2.5 concentration exposure, followed by Nepal, Niger, Qatar and Nigeria, The Hindustan Times notes.
The Quote: “Indoor air pollution has not been at the forefront for policymakers, but it should be,” UCLA epidemiologist Beate Ritz told The Guardian.